Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Replace The Barn?

That's what Tubby Smith suggests the University of Minnesota needs to do sooner or later in this feature article in the New York Times.

"How much longer can you play in the Barn?” he said. “I know it’s sacrilegious to mention that, but it’s going to be 80 years old next year. How many 80-year-old buildings are still being played in? I’m sure it’s a long-term project, but what do you do in the meantime? We can’t play here forever.

“For now, we can make this a great environment, which it has been in the past.”


I'm on the fence about this. I always loved going to Williams Arena. I love the raised floor. I love the atmosphere when the team is playing well. But is our beloved Barn a recruiting detriment? I tend to see it as an advantage--history, uniqueness. But do recruits see a historic building or a relic of days gone by?

In the article, Tubby is paraphrased as saying he's happy to wait until the football and baseball stadiums are completed. But Tubby also knew this mere mention of this could strike a nerve--note "sacrilegious." Rightly or wrongly, I envision a big effort to keep The Barn as the home for our basketball program.

What do you think?

18 comments:

GustieGopher said...

Tearing down The Barn?! Dear me, definitely sacrilegious. I don't see it as a recruiting detriment, at all. If any of these recruits see a barn that is jumping it is a huge boon to recruiting, not a detriment. What does a lifeless Value City have over The Barn besides a couple thousand more people eons from the court?

Back a few years ago The Barn was often listed as one of the toughest places to play (we'll some of those vibes back for Big Ten season this year). It's also one of the oldest and uniquest in the country at a university that is lacking in tradition/history department. Unless there is an desperately urgent and dramatic economic need for suites and club seats, asking for The Barn to be torn down is the clowniest idea, ever.

(disclosure: I don't know the needs of the locker room and the weight recruits put on that...but still!)

alex said...

The locker room was just redone, so it doesn't need to be done. That, plus the player lounge is really nice. Really nice.

As for replacing the barn, no. The place has so much history and is so unique that it gives the program some sort of tradition. By no means am I an old timer, but I like that sort of thing. The Barn is a unique place to play and it would be a serious shame to see that change.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's repeat the mistake we made by leaving Memorial Stadium for football.

PJS said...

Suffice to say Tubby is going to get nowhere with most of us just saying the building is old, and therefore needs to be replaced.

I wonder, does he not like the raised floor? Does he feel kids don't like it? Would it be a purely economic move?

From The Barn said...

I think Tubby is looking to create a monument unto himself with a new arena. Luckily it won't happen (if it does I'll be blocking the bulldozers).

Tubby himself says that we don't have an arena like everyone else, which sure seems like a good thing to me. It isn't like our climate, lakes, or theater seats per capita are going draw in a lot of 18 year olds. The Barn is what makes us different.

In Tubby's defense, he hasn't seen what the barn has been or will be capable of, but if he still wants to tear down the barn, I hope we have learned from Kentucky how to run a coach out of town.

alex said...

On a completely side note, how great is it to see an article about the Gophers on the NYT website? I know Marcus Fuller mentioned it on his blog earlier in the month (on the 7th for those interested), but it's pretty cool seeing the Gophers getting this sort of national attention, even if it is just one article.

PJS said...

Alex, When I first saw the NYT piece, my first thought was that I'd do a post on Tubby bringing national exposure. Then I read the last two paragraphs and was kind of shocked.

Whoa, from the barn ... I think we can agree to disagree with tubby on the stadium issue should he win 20 games per season, grab a couple conference championships etc..

I hope Marcus Fuller or Myron Medcalf follow up on that statement Tubby made and flesh out why he thinks The Barn has to go.

From The Barn said...

The Barn is more important to Minnesota Basketball than Tubby will ever be.

PJS said...

For as much as I love The Barn, I don't think we should think of running Tubby out of town for wanting a modern arena. And I'd still like to hear from him the exact reasons he doesn't like The Barn (maybe you're right, he wants a Tubby Smith court.)

thelandryhat said...

PJS, you are either for it or not. Please, for us fans of your blog, state your position clearly instead of sitting on the fence based on each comment.

New Barn or No?

GustieGopher said...

Who's clamoring for a new arena amongst fans/boosters/players?! I hear no one. Frankly unless it was a brief verbal stumble it's the least thought out statement I've heard over the past few months from a very wise man. If he plans to continue that rhetoric he doesn't nearly have the kind of trust built up to be pulling stunts like that. I see absolutely no reason to be even thinking about a new arena. Especially when the "U" has plenty of other obligations for the time being.

Friend Of Tubby said...

My alma mater Purdue always has trouble in The Barn, it seems.

I think it's a great place for basketball.

Anonymous said...

The Barn's time is over.

lurker said...

I like the Barn as much as anyone else, but if getting rid of it means the program can take another step forward, I'm all for it.

Mark said...

Keep The Barn.

Find out what Tubby thinks it's missing and then put our highly-ranked engineering and architecture schools to work figuring out how to upgrade/improve it.

PJS said...

I'll be paying close attention to future Tubby remarks on this topic. He needs to make a strong case.

And he's also been talking about a practice facility. I would think that would be the first in line.

Jon Johnston said...

Minnesota needs to build a new baseball facility before they build anything else. Seibert Field is a dung heap, and a laughing stock amongst the rest of college baseball.
Given that the Gophers have had one of the best Northern programs, it's ridiculous to think they would build a new basketball building before that.
Otherwise, just let John Anderson go coach somewhere where he might be appreciated.

PJS said...

Jon, I completely agree with you about Anderson and the baseball field. The football stadium, baseball stadium, then a basketball practice facility should all come before a new Barn.